April 25, 2015 - 10:32 AM
KAMLOOPS - Feeding the less fortunate was something Erwin’s bakery manager Robyn Haley did for a number of years before her new free sandwich token program launched, but she didn’t plan to sell all 250 tokens in three days.
The program is simple. Customers can buy tokens for $2.25 which are handed out to those in need. The tokens can be redeemed in lieu of cash for a freshly made breakfast bun, filled with egg and bacon. Haley says she decided to create the program after meeting the owner of Save On Meats in Vancouver who launched a similar breakfast bun program.
“We were hoping people would be receptive. The customers we talked to liked the idea.” Haley says. “What we didn’t anticipate were people phoning in and buying 10 or 20 over the phone. We’ve been forwarding donated tokens to the RCMP and to the bylaw officers so they’re getting distributed that way."
“A lot of people who are on the streets are not there necessarily because of addiction or mental health issues. A lot of them, for whatever reason, don’t quite conform. I don’t know if it’s a choice per se, but they don’t want to go to the Salvation Army or any of the other places that the other people go to. So they’ll just do without."
Haley says she faced a lot of false starts and tried a few different products. What challenged her most was finding a community group to back her idea. The people she reached out to did not respond.
“When that happened I was a little disconcerted. I thought ‘maybe this isn’t going to fly here, maybe this isn’t going to be supported.’ So I just decided to put it on our own Facebook and not look to anybody else for assistance,” she says.
It worked and now Haley is hoping to raise funds to order another set of tokens to grow the program. Haley says people are still giving the bakery money even while all the tokens are sold out. When the tokens come in, the bakery buys them again through the reserve fund.
Even when there’s no tokens, Erwin’s keeps helping out the community by handing out day-olds, leftovers or overstocked product.
“I’d rather see someone get it than have it go in the garbage,” Haley says.
To get updates on the token program, visit Erwin’s Facebook page here.
Erwin's breakfast sandwich
(GLYNN BROTHEN / iNFOnews.ca)
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